Just in time for the holidays, Sony is unveiling a new line of headphones along with a connected speaker that uses Google Assistant. We had an opportunity to look at the new line, which features three new sets of noise canceling headphones. Two of the three also support Hi-Res Audio. Here’s a rundown of the new products, and our first impressions.
WH-1000XM2 Over-The-Ear Headphones. These are an upgrade to the widely acclaimed MDR-1000X which we’ve been enjoying since they were introduced. The upgrades still include noise cancellation technology, support for Hi-Res Audio, Ambient Sound mode, Personal Noise Cancelling Optimizer, and the Quick Attention Mode to provide a premium listening experience. That function will let you interrupt the music so you can carry on a conversation. The WH-1000XM2 adds compatibility with Sony | Headphones Connect app for Noise Cancelling performance upgraded with the world’s first Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing (for flights), Ambient Sound Control, an Equalizer, Surround and Sony’s audio processing technology, the 5 SENSE ENGINE, an integrated technology of Sony’s audio signal processing and analyzing techniques. Battery life has been improved to up to 30 hours of battery life or up to 40 hours of battery life with noise canceling via a wired audio connection, making them ideal on the longest of international flights. If a recharge is needed in a hurry, the Quick Charge function can add up to 70 mins of battery life in just 10 minutes. Perhaps best of all, Sony lowered the price by $50 to $350.
LF-S50G Wireless Speaker with Google Assistant – With this smart speaker, Sony joins the race to get connected technology from folks like Google and Amazon Echo into connected speakers. Using the LF-S50G wireless speaker users can start playing music, turn up the volume, or, skip to the next track just by using their voice, starting with “Ok Google.” Users can ask the Assistant on LF-S50G wireless speaker for a weather forecast or traffic information, or simply to set a timer for the eggs. The Assistant on LF-S50G can also control a growing number of smart devices that can do almost everything from setting the temperature to turning down the lights. The wireless speaker also has gesture control for music playback. That means that if you’re in the kitchen you can operate music functions without putting your messy hands on the device. It has a 360 degree, vertical two-way facing speaker system that can fill the average room with sound. A full range speaker reproduces vocal and treble notes, a dedicated subwoofer reproduces bass sounds, and the omnidirectional two stage diffuser spreads the sound in all directions. The LF-S50G can be used in the kitchen with a handy clock and has a IPX3 splash-proof design with a water-repellent surface and a grill that’s removable for light cleaning. We were able to listen to the speaker in a side by side comparison with the original Google Home speaker and found the sound quality of the Sony was discernibly better than Google’s. Price is $200.